Republican leader, a Park City real estate figure, will not seek another term
State Republican Party Chairman Thomas Wright, a prominent figure in the Park City real estate industry, will not seek another term as the leader of the Utah GOP.
Wright has served more than two years as the chairman of the state’s dominant political party — one full term and part of another one. His term ends in May. Wright, who lives in Salt Lake City, said in an interview he wants to spend more time with his wife and four children as well as putting in more hours at his real estate firm. He is the owner and president of Summit Sotheby’s International Realty, based in Park City.
Wright said he is pleased with the progress the Republican Party made during his time in office. He pointed to election returns that have favored Republicans by wide margins. The party controls the state House of Representatives, the state Senate and the governor’s office. Republicans also hold all but one of the state’s federal seats.
"The Republican Party has a good 30-year run here, and we’re proud of it," he said, noting that Utah performs well in national rankings of business climates and other opportunities.
Wright said sometimes it is difficult to manage the various elements within the state GOP. He said, though, the Republican Party in Utah has enjoyed "good balance" recently.
He said he is disappointed the GOP was unable to capture the congressional seat held by Democrat Jim Matheson. It is the only federal-level office in Utah held by a Democrat. Wright said the state party was aggressive in last year’s campaign between Matheson and Republican Mia Love, a contest that drew national interest as well.
"The state party played an unprecedented role," Wright said.
He said he is also unhappy that Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee last year, did not win the White House. Romney easily won Utah on Election Day. Wright said Utah Republicans organized five call centers on behalf of the Romney campaign and sent people to support Romney in the hotly contested states of Colorado and Nevada.
Wright said the state Republican efforts last year reached into Summit County, one of the longtime Democratic-leaning areas of the state. He said the state party supported the Summit County Republicans with raising money and encouraging voter turnout.
Henry Glasheen, the chairman of the Summit County Republican Party, praised Wright’s leadership and said he was highly involved in the county. Glasheen said Wright was instrumental in providing campaign funds and other assistance from the state party to local campaigns. He said Wright provided precinct-by-precinct breakdowns of voter trends in Summit County.
"I don’t think we could have been better supported under any circumstances," Glasheen said.
He especially noted the assistance in last year’s state House of Representatives campaign between Republican Kraig Powell and Chris Robinson, a Democrat. Powell, the incumbent, won in a redrawn district.
"I’m sad to see him go. I really am," Glasheen said.
The state Republican Party will elect a new chairman at a convention on May 18 at the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy.
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An important property owner at the Resort Center at Park City Mountain Resort indicated it backs plans for a major development, some of the first consequential support for a project that has overwhelmingly drawn opposition.